Although there are traces of painting inside many ancient Maya buildings, well-preserved murals are rare discoveries. Probably the most famous Maya murals were discovered by Giles Healey in 1947 at a site in the Lacandón rain forest of Chiapas, Mexico.
The first part of the west wall mural shows the establishment of order to the world. Four deities, variations of the same figure — the son of the maize god — provide a blood sacrifice and an offering in four cardinal directions as they set up the physical world. The deities move through the Maya universe.
Maya script, also known as Maya glyphs, was the writing system of the Maya civilization of Mesoamerica and is the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially deciphered. The earliest inscriptions found which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BCE in San Bartolo, Guatemala.
The Maya of the Classic period (A.D. 250-900) developed a sophisticated artistic tradition, producing sculpted stone, painted ceramics, clay figurines, and screen-fold bark books of drawings and hieroglyphic writing. Maya ceramic artists were highly educated members of the elite.
Descendants of the Maya still live in Central America in modern-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico. The majority of them live in Guatemala, which is home to Tikal National Park, the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal. Roughly 40 percent of Guatemalans are of Mayan descent.
Although much of the Maya life was spent doing hard work, they did enjoy entertainment as well. A lot of their entertainment was centered around religious ceremonies. They played music, danced, and played games such as the Maya ball game.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . However, unwanted orphan children became slaves and were sometimes sacrificed during religious rituals. Slaves were usually sacrificed when their owners died so that they could continue in their service after death.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
Read more: 7 of Mexico’s best ruins, and how you can see them. Tulum , Mexico. Tulum , Mexico. Copan, Honduras. Copan, Honduras. Tikal, Guatemala. Tikal, Guatemala. Xunantunich, Belize. Xunantunich, Belize. Palenque, Mexico. Palenque, Mexico.
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
Maya stelae were worked with stone chisels and probably with wooden mallets. Hammerstones were fashioned from flint and basalt and were used for shaping the softer rocks used to make stelae, while fine detail was completed with smaller chisels.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
Called Aguada Fénix, this previously unknown Maya site in Tabasco, Mexico, was built between 1,000 BC and 800 BC. The huge elevated platform stands 10 to 15 meters above the surrounding area with nine causeways extending from the platform.